Food Pairings: Italian Wine & Clam Linguine

If you stop by Bottles in Providence this month and notice a large wine display, you will be looking at our feature on The Italian Table. We’re sharing some food and wine pairing ideas from recipes inspired by regions in Italy. Keep scrolling to learn about Friuli-Venezia Giulia, how to make a simple Clam and Linguine dish, and some wines that taste great with that recipe. Thank-you to Edible Rhody magazine for providing such great recipes by local chefs around Rhode Island.
Need general food and wine pairing tips? Read Eric’s (Bottles General Manager) advice HERE.
Located in the very northeast corner of Italy, Friuli is bordered by Veneto to the west, Slovenia to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the south.  With lots of mountains and mostly cool temperatures, wines from Fruili tend to be very light and acidic, making them perfect matches with lighter foods.  
Friuli Venezia Giulia wine region italy pairing

2011 Scarbolo Pinot Grigio

This white is truly the perfect match to Clams with Linguini.  Super fresh and juicy, the wine’s beautiful acidity will cleanse your palate of the intense garlicy flavors in the dish.  However there are subtle flavors of honey and juicy stone fruit that will compliment and not overpower the beautiful flavors of the clams.

2010 Scarbolo Merlot
While a white wine is the traditional pairing with this dish, this light bodied Merlot is an interesting alternative.  Light in body with plenty of fresh fruit flavors like tart plum, persimmon and black current, this wine won’t overpower the delicacy of the clams and will stand up to the garlic and black pepper elements of the dish.


By Matthew MacCartney, Executive Chef, Jamestown Fish

Clams and linguine is a favorite among the Rhode Island quahoggers who bring us the sweetest, freshest clams we’ve ever tasted. Our version of this well-loved dish takes the “less is more” approach inspired by our friend Joe Bruno at Pasta Nostra and focuses only on the star of the show: the clam.

40 Littleneck clams (about 2 cups shucked), washed

and shucked; juice strained and reserved*

8 cloves garlic, crushed

⅓–½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

⅛ cup fine sea salt

1¼ pounds fresh linguine

40 twists black pepper

½ bunch fresh Italian parsley, stemmed, washed, dried and chopped

Remove and discard the soft black part of the clam connected to the body. Chop the clam bodies in half. Reserve chopped clams and juice separately in the refrigerator.

Heat garlic and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until blond (not browned) and fragrant, then remove pan from heat. Remove garlic from oil to prevent further cooking and set aside.

Bring 5 quarts water and the sea salt to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and move gently with a fork to prevent sticking. Cook until just underdone, about 2 minutes; strain. (Note: If using dry linguine, cook until just al dente, no more.)

Working quickly while the pasta is cooking, add reserved clam juice to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add reserved garlic and black pepper. Add strained pasta and shucked, chopped clams to the simmering clam juice and olive oil for 1 minute, tossing until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Divide pasta among four warm shallow pasta bowls. Garnish with parsley. (Dissuade your guests from adding cheese! This dish doesn’t need it.) Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main course.

*Visit and click on the blog for shucking tips by Chef MacCartney.